MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO has obtained video that led, in part, to a police officer’s firing. That officer now has his job back, as an arbitrator ruled he should be reinstated last week. Minneapolis police officer Blayne Lehner is currently on paid administrative leave.
The video shows Lehner pushing a woman. Seconds later he swatted a cellphone out of her hand and pushed her to the ground after she tried to grab him.READ MORE: How Minnesota Schools Are Spending COVID Relief Money
“When police arrive they are in control of that environment whether people like it or not,” Joe Dutton said.
The retired veteran officer and use of force expert said when you slow the video down the situation comes into focus. It’s important to look at the totality of the situation.
“He was pushing her back inside the building because obviously his verbal at the door weren’t being complied with,” Dutton said.
Officers were initially called to the apartment complex for a domestic disturbance. According to arbitration documents the woman in the video was part of a yelling match, was out of control, intoxicated and noncompliant several times. Actions, Dutton explains, would cause an officer to prevent a situation from escalating.READ MORE: Girl Gifts Comforting 'Prairie Bears' To All Patients At Youth Psychiatric Hospital
“She’s talking on the phone right now and he wants her attention. When he knocks it out of her hand, her left hand is coming up towards him. He’s looking at that as a possible threat,” Dutton said.
He said Lehner looked to stay in control as he doesn’t strike the woman again.
“Violence whether it’s person on person violence or police on person violence, people don’t understand that it doesn’t look good to them, they don’t like to look at it but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong,” Dutton said.
Officer Lehner was reinstated Oct. 24. In a statement, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said: “These rulings hinder my ability, as a Police Chief, to create an effective culture of accountability within the department.”MORE NEWS: Good Question: How Do They Make It Snow Inside U.S. Bank Stadium?
The same day Lehner was reinstated he was put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of another internal investigation.